Artem Nadyozhin

A Marlboro For a Portrait

“Like guns and cars, cameras are fantasy-machines whose use is addictive. However, despite the extravagances of ordinary language and advertising, they are not lethal…The camera/gun does not kill, so the ominous metaphor seems to be all bluff…Still, there is something predatory in the act of taking a picture. To photograph people is to violate them, by seeing them as they never see themselves, by having knowledge of them they can never have; it turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed. Just as the camera is a sublimation of the gun, to photograph someone is a sublimated murder – a soft murder, appropriate to a sad, frightened time.” – Susan Sontag, ‘On Photography (1977)’

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When I ask Ukrainian photographer Artem Nadyozhin what erotics he feels accompany this petit mort, he turns the subject around. “To me, the erotics can be found in the transformation of energy. It is the energy which the subject sends to the cameraman, which is rather a sublimation of love than murder.” Artem roams the streets as neither a killer nor protester, but more of a wanderlust who’s driven by capturing the next moment. Killing some time with his machine of choice. To him, the beauty of photography lies in the process of developing film rolls, the disappointment when seeing fucked up shots, and finding unexpected images. Though he mainly seems to photograph his friends and surroundings, he claims it would be wrong to describe him as a story teller or sentimentalist. No strings attached, so to say.

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Pinpointing whether it’s either a person or a scenario that inspires him to shoot, he says: “Usually it’s a person instead of a place or situation. I like to connect with people. If I understand that I might never see a random person again, I need to overcome my fear (and shyness) and ask the stranger if I can take his picture. For example, this guy

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walked up to me to ask for a cigarette, and I suggested an honest swap. A Marlboro for a picture.” Yet, one wonders if portraiture can be anything more than an open testimony to our endless efforts to know each other, and our failure to do so. “One portrait can’t describe a personality,” Artem says, “There must be hundreds of image sets that portray an essence.” As we are exposed to thousands of visual references on a daily basis, I’m certain there’s one that’s particularly engraved in his mind; one that got the ball rolling. It was… *drum rolls* Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park by Diane Arbus. And, the last one that made an impression, was an unknown image by Mariam Sitchinava, which he randomly found in his Flickr stream.

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NP: Who are your favourite artists?
Artem: Christina Abdeeva, Nan Goldin, Masha Demianova, Ivan Chernichkin, Alexander Chekmenev.

NP: Do you draw any inspiration from movies at all? What directors do you admire?
Artem: Alex van Warmerdam, Coen Brothers, Aki Kaurismäki, Wes Anderson.

NP: What is your favourite colour?
Artem: Anything desaturated up to 81%.

Photography by Artem Nadyozhin
Kiev, Ukraine
www.izvestka.com
www.flickr.com/photos/deadlime

Interview by Jorinde Croese for New-Photographer.com

Sergey Melnitchenko

“Schwarzenegger is my idol” is the story about the young guys from Nikolayev (Ukraine) who are united by one thing – it’s a goal to become the best of the best and they will do everything possible to achieve it.

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The photos show the young people who engage in athletics, acrobatics, fitness, and bodybuilding. I asked one of the boys to tell me what role his hobby plays in his life. Here’s what he told me: “For me, my sport is what I live for. Daily control and hard work – that leads me to success. Sport disciplines a man, enables him to understand the value of labor, the value of choice.

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I always wanted to be something more than an ordinary man in the street, more colossal than an ordinary representative of the society, so in my sport I do all the best I can, because I want to reach the top”. Why are my «models» naked on photos? I think it adds them a kind of courage and naturalness. Of course it also looks funny and ironic.

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NP: Schwarzenegger once said that when he is working out he has the same feeling as when he’s having an orgasm. What do you feel when you take a picture?
Sergey: Yes, know that. I have different feelings in different moments. I like what I’m doing so of course, when I’m making a picture I really have a great feeling inside me, I want to continue and don’t want to stop anyway. But I often notice that I have a feeling like an orgasm when the project which I was making for some time is finally ready and I like it, like how it looks and like the idea of it. I really like this feeling and sometimes I return to the ready project again and again to watch it when it just finished.

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NP: The body builders talk about daily control and hard work to become the best. What does discipline mean to you?
Sergey: Oh..hm..I can say just one thing – You have to do always something to become someone in this life, nothing will be just from doing nothing, so I’m trying always to do. But I also love to relax. I like parties, like big companies of friends, like to drink alcohol. But when there’re a lot of all this – it’s time to stop, cause such way of life only kills discipline. But we need to have time for everything – to work and to relax.

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NP: You portray certain honesty and reality by showing (literally) stripped down models. What is it that attracts you to photographing nudity?
Sergey: Once I tried it and I liked it.

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NP: The nudity in the pictures is sometimes ironic; could you tell me about the funniest moment during the shoot?
Sergey: The process of making the series was the one big funny moment. Guys are not models so at first they were little shy to get naked but then got used to it – they were running, jumping and making all the sport stuff naked and it looked really funny. I regret that I didn’t make a video of a process, it could also be interesting. When I was shooting one guy, the door to the gym wasn’t closed, because it had a broken lock. We could not worry but we were making photos in the place full of students so every moment someone could come to the gym, that’s why after every shot boy had to put his clothes back on him.

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NP: What is your favourite body builder pose?
Sergey:I think they’re all funny

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Photography by Sergey Melnitchenko
Nikolayev, Ukraine
www.cargocollective.com/melnitchenko/

Interview by Jorinde Croese for New-Photographer.com

Roma Moskalenko

Photography and text by Roma Moskalenko
Kiev, Ukraine.

The rhythm of a modern world became dangerously fast because of our strange
desires to reach some goals, which actually are more important for unknown
guys who are siting in dark offices at the mahogany tables. We’ve forgotten
how to be attentive viewers, looking more often for problems that don’t
really exist than for some new dimensions of the areas we are passing
trough everyday. For some it may seem just a waste of time, but I
personally believe that a closer look is like an in-depth reading – can
help us to understand ourselves better, using a prism that consists of
other people vision of the world.

Imaging a perfect picture in my head, I’m trying to find it in a real life,
and although it’s far beside from my mirages, a photo always contains some
story or something that is very important and valuable for myself. In that
moment I’m the only viewer and the only percipient of what is happening,
but after I get my pictures printed, completely other thought are starting
to soar in my head. To be shown to other people, they should really cause a
strong reaction inside me, something unconsciously bright and meaningful.
Making a photo is generally a spontaneous act but, surprisingly, we often
find more meanings in pictures made with the help of flash and film than
with their “pencil&paper” analogues. That’s what really fascinates me in
photography and makes me put my camera in a backpack, leaving the house
every day.

Roma Moskalenko
Kiev, Ukraine.
www.flickr.com/photos/70362801@N03/

Ones_To_Watch_#3 (from flickr group)

Ones_To_Watch_#2 (from flickr group)